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October 2004 newsletter


For previous editions of this newsletter see below.

  • Canadian travel news
    Overnight trips to Canada improve
    New numbers bode well for winter
    Canadian RevPAR
    Forecast for 2005
  • International travel news
    Yotel! to rent rooms by the hour
    Japanese thermal hotel owners in hot water
  • Regional News B.C. to become "tourism powerhouse"
    Calgary gets Germany flights
    New figures suggest tourism recovering in Toronto
  • Internet info On-line bookings continue to grow
    Visitor traffic
  • Advice for the property owner
    Are you up to speed?

Canadian travel news

Overnight trips to Canada improve
In July, the biggest decline occurred in the number of travellers who visited Canada, which fell 1.4% from June to just under 3.2 million.
Concerns about border delays may have been one factor influencing travellers as the number of American residents making same-day car trips to Canada plummeted 6.4% to about 1.4 million-the lowest figure in over 25 years. This also coincided with the second consecutive monthly increase in the exchange rate, as the value of the Canadian dollar rose to its highest level compared with its US counterpart since the beginning of the year. Although the number of same-day visits dropped, overnight trips rose 1.9% to 1.3 million-the highest level since December 2002. The number of trips increased in every transportation category with overnight car trips posting the largest gain of 2.2% and recording the highest monthly total since January 2003. Americans also made 1.7% more overnight plane trips, the second highest mark in the last 3 years.
Travel to Canada from overseas countries fell 1.0% in July as 346,000 visitors arrived in Canada. Travel was down in 6 of Canada's top 12 overseas markets. Taiwan led the way with a 26.6% monthly decrease and was followed by Hong Kong (-10.0%). Travel from the United Kingdom, however, rose 9.0% and set a record high in July.

New numbers bode well for winter
Research from the Canadian Tourism Commission points to a dramatic jump in domestic traveller's plans for a winter holiday. Perhaps spurred by less-than-favourable summer weather in much of the country, 48% of respondents in the recent Vacation Intentions Survey indicated they plan to take a winter trip compared with 42% last year.
Canada is the destination of choice among domestic travellers (43%, up from 39% in June 2003) while intentions to travel to the Caribbean, Mexico or another international destination exclusive of the US, was flat or declining (35%, down 1% from last June).

Canadian RevPAR
Latest lodging report (week ending September 25) from the Canadian hotel industry showing 'revenue per available room' (RevPAR).

Province RevPAR** Change*
Alberta $87.08 2.6%
British Columbia $96.37 10.9%
Manitoba $54.95 -1.9%
New Brunswick $76.10 14.9%
Newfoundland & Lab. $98.76 -13.5%
Ontario $91.23 6.8%
Prince Edward Island $72.89 -6.4%
Quebec $108.10 3.9%
Saskatchewan $51.18 -6.2%
Canada $74.82 6.6%

**RevPAR is typically defined as room revenue divided by rooms available.
*Change from previous week.


International travel news

Yotel! to rent rooms by the hour
At a mere 9ft wide, 12ft long and 8ft high, this tiny room could be the biggest thing to hit the British hotel industry. The Yotel! chain will open three properties in London, to provide "designer" accommodation at budget prices; the accommodation is intended to rival four-star hotels but the rooms will be available at £75 per night or, if customers prefer, £10 per hour. Gerard Greene, managing director, is quoted as saying: "We are offering flexibility. I can't dictate what people do in their rooms. Love hotels are probably the most profitable ones in Japan. If guys are sneaking off with their secretaries, why not make money from it?"
The ensuite rooms, with no external windows, will measure just 10 sq. metres and will feature rotating beds. Greene claims, "This is a space saving measure rather than anything kinky". The rooms can be cleaned in just 10 minutes.

Japanese thermal hotel owners in hot water
Japan's tourism industry has reportedly been rocked by allegations that many of its famous "onsen", or hot-spring hotels, have been cheating their customers by using heated tap water.
Dozens of the country's 3,000 such hotels have admitted dishonesty. One famous hotel was caught adding coloured salts to its water, others have been using ordinary hot water from a tap, and one resort was caught using "waste water from a geothermal power plant". Japanese residents reportedly make some 140 million visits to such resorts each year. Yoshihisa Suzuki, head of the union of Minakami hot spring keepers, is quoted as saying: "The truth is that we knew this kind of thing went on. The best thing we can now do to win back trust is to be as open and honest as we can be."

Regional news

B.C. to become "tourism powerhouse"
Premier Gordon Campbell vowed recently to make B.C. a "tourism powerhouse" as he committed to doubling the marketing budget of Tourism B.C. - to $50 million from $25 million - and gave the municipalities a one-time grant of $25 million for other tourism initiatives. Michael Campbell (unrelated), president of the Council of Tourism Associations of B.C. said the money will help build B.C.'s long-term economy. The province and the industry are hoping to double tourism in the province by 2015!

Calgary gets Germany flights
LTU International Airways has unveiled plans to fly between Dusseldorf and Calgary this winter. The flights will operate on Mondays from Dec. 13, 2004 to April 30, 2005. The new service between Calgary and Dusseldorf has been added to seasonal flights from Toronto and Vancouver to Dusseldorf, and....
From May 2005, Zoom Airlines will be operating flights from Gatwick, Glasgow and Manchester, in the U.K., to Montreal, Halifax, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Vancouver.

New figures suggest tourism recovering in Toronto
The tourism industry appears to be on its way to recovering from SARS, with business for the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) bars almost doubling this spring and summer over last year. Hotels have seen their business increase by 38% and restaurant business has increased by 17%. Drinking establishments saw a 92% jump!
Tourism representatives say the improvement in hotel and restaurant patronage was expected. "2003 was a terrible year and one would think we should be able to recover, and we have," said Bruce MacMillan, president of Tourism Toronto.

A more telling comparison is 2002 and on that front the news is mixed, MacMillan said. "Region-wide, hotel occupancies are at or slightly above 2002 levels, so that's a good thing," he said, adding that hotels continue to offer discounts to attract visitors. MacMillan said visits from Europe and Asia are up. "The momentum is clearly positive. I think we're tracking well against 2002." It's unclear whether 2004 will be a better year than 2002, said Duncan Ross, tourism director for the City of Toronto. "We're still suffering from a lot of uncontrollable influences, border waiting times being one," Ross said. "There's the whole issue of Americans choosing to stay at home this year."
It was well into the summer before local tourist operators started to see U.S. currency showing up in their cash registers this year, said Brian Ashton, chair of city council's economic development committee. "Tourists are very fickle," said Ashton. "One day they love your city and the next day it's somewhere else. So you really have to keep putting on more makeup and make yourself look attractive."

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Internet info

Online bookings continue to grow
The Travel Industry Association of America (TIA) reports that a growing number of travellers are using the Internet to plan and book their vacations.
This year over 20% of all revenues in hospitality will be generated from the Internet (15% in 2003). Another 20% of accommodation bookings will be influenced by the Internet, but done offline (telephone, walk-ins). Two years from now the Internet will contribute over 27% of all accommodation bookings. 53% of all Internet bookings in hospitality will be direct to consumer (i.e. via websites). Direct online distribution cuts costs, attracts affluent customers and lessens the dependency on the online intermediaries and more traditional and expensive channels.
Over 205 million North Americans are active Internet users and 50 million of them will purchase travel online this year. Dr. Suzanne Cook, senior vice-president of research for TIA, observes: "The tremendous increase in travellers booking all their travel online signifies a major shift in consumer preference when it comes to planning and booking travel. The Internet has put consumers in control of their plans and they like it."
Online travel bookers spent an average of US$2,700 for their travel purchases during the past year, up from US$2,600 in 2003.

Visitor traffic to holiday homes.canada web site for the month of September 2004:
Total 'hits' for the month = 121,006 hits (4,033 per day)
Total 'unique visits' for the month = 9,091 (303 per day)
Visitors came from 70+ countries.
For more information, including an independent audit of our site performance, and to view the countries of origin for visitors click here.

Advice for the property owner

Are you up to speed?
Are you up to speed? Last month we talked about the importance of ensuring your website loads quickly. No one likes pages that take a long time to load. Your website visitor makes decisions in seconds and it won't take him long to press the back button or type another address to access other related websites.
Here's the address of a free on-line tool that will check and report the download speed of your site:
http://www.1-hit.com/all-in-one/tool.loading-time-checker.htm

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